News / Africa

Egyptian Protesters Denounce Military, Security Forces After Soccer Disaster

Fans from Al Ahly and Al Zamalek soccer teams chant slogans against the violence that occurred during a soccer match involving Al Ahly in Port Said, February 2, 2012
Fans from Al Ahly and Al Zamalek soccer teams chant slogans against the violence that occurred during a soccer match involving Al Ahly in Port Said, February 2, 2012

Thousands of Egyptians in Cairo have protested to denounce the country's military rulers and security forces for failing to prevent a soccer riot that killed 74 people and injured hundreds more in the northern city of Port Said.

Some protesters gathered Thursday in central Cairo's Tahrir Square while others marched to the nearby Interior Ministry, where riot police fired tear gas to keep them away.  A crowd also chanted slogans against the ruling military at a Cairo train station where survivors of Wednesday's riot were returning home, some of them injured.



Egypt's military-appointed Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzuri said the government fired the board of Egypt's soccer federation and suspended Port Said's governor and security chiefs in response to the disaster, one of the deadliest in the history of the sport.  He announced the actions at an emergency parliament session.

The head of Egypt's military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, declared three days of national mourning and vowed to find the culprits. Police have arrested 47 suspects.

"God willing, if there is any person planning to destabilize Egypt, he will fail to achieve his goal," said Tantawi. "Everyone involved in this incident will be handed a fair sentence."

Some lawmakers blamed the riot on loyalists of former President Hosni Mubarak, ousted by a popular uprising one year ago, while others demanded the firing of Egypt's interior minister. The lawmakers also voted to conduct an investigation. Egypt has experienced a series of deadly incidents linked to poor security in the past year, leaving many Egyptians worried about instability.

Egypt's main stock index fell more than two percent on Thursday.

The head of world soccer's governing body FIFA sent a letter to Egypt's soccer federation demanding a full explanation of the disaster and calling it a "black day for football."  Sepp Blatter also said football is a force for good and authorities must not allow it to be abused "by those who mean evil."  Egypt's soccer league has been suspended indefinitely.

The Port Said riot erupted at the end of a match in which home team Al-Masry scored an upset 3-1 victory over Cairo's visiting Al-Ahly club.  As most police looked on, thousands stormed the pitch and panicked fans rushed for the exits but were crushed against locked gates.

VOA correspondent Elizabeth Arrott said the atmosphere in Port Said was tense Thursday, with troops deployed to prevent further battles between rival fans. She said some protesters in the city blamed the disaster on negligence by the security forces, while others called for retaliation against the fans who instigated the violence.

"It was a match, we were playing a game," said a football fan who was caught in violence in Port Said. "I though Egypt was better than this but we got beaten and injured. Many people died. The government provided army cars for us. We are now here."

"We are calling on all in the government to investigate and to help, so that the 74 people who died can have some justice," said another fan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid